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Southern Bank bringing first full-service branch to Springfield

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Poplar Bluff-based Southern Bank (Nasdaq: SMBC) is planning to open its first full-service branch in Springfield in the coming weeks as part of a larger move to bring several locations to the area.

Justin Cox, vice president of commercial lending for Southern Bank, said many details of the new branch - which is coming to 4650 S. National Ave. Ste. C-4 - are still in flux.

The company is moving three doors down from its current loan production office at 4650 S. National Ave. Ste. C-7, which has 1,100 square feet. The new retail site has roughly 4,000 square feet. That loan production office opened its doors Sept. 1, 2010, under the leadership of Dave Tooley, a 35-year banking veteran, who came out of retirement to open the office, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

“We are converting our (loan production office) to a fully operational retail facility. We have a soft opening that is coming up – we don’t have an exact date on that,” Cox said, adding that he hoped it would open in September. “We want to get it open as soon as we can.”

He said the bank is waiting on equipment orders while coordinating with third-party suppliers and training the staff who will work in the branch.

The bank will be located in a retail strip center, but Cox stressed that it will be a full-service facility.
 
“It’s going to be a traditional bank. It’s just going to be in a nontraditional setting,” Cox said.

He said there will be no drive-through at this time, but there will be an ATM in its parking lot, which will allow consumers deposit and withdrawal transactions 24 hours a day.

Cox said the new facility is part of the bank’s larger effort to enter the Springfield market with three to four branches total in the city – and possibly Christian County – but he declined to provide a timeline for those long-range plans.

“A lot of it is going to depend on how fast we grow this year. There are just a lot of factors,” Cox said.

Jackie Bonner, former chief operating officer and senior vice president of Metropolitan National Bank, recently was named vice president of Southern Bank and is responsible for managing the start-up of retail operations and business development for the Springfield market area. At Southern Bank, she joins Tooley, a former colleague at Metropolitan.

Bonner called the coming full-service location a “unique environment” that would take advantage of available technology to serve its retail customers.

She said the bank would release more details about the move following its opening.

“We hate to let the cat out of the bag just yet,” Bonner said.

Southern Bank was chartered in 1887 as Poplar Bluff Loan and Building, according to its Web site, www.bankwithsouthern.com. It went public in 1994 and today has a total of 16 full service banks and two loan production facilities in Missouri and Arkansas. As of Dec. 31, the bank’s assets totaled $690 million.[[In-content Ad]]

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